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1.2m homes at risk of tree light fires

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4.5m Brits will be away for Christmas and a quarter will leave their tree lights on.

According to research carried out by Santander, 1.2 million people believe that leaving the Christmas tree lights on when they are away over the festive season will deter burglars, when actually such action greatly increases the risk of a home fire.

The survey also found that the use of social networking sites over the festive season could compromise home security, with 43% of people, who will leave their homes unoccupied, intending to post updates about their whereabouts.

Thirty per cent of those planning to go away over Christmas say they will update their Facebook status with a message about where they are and one in 10 (11%) will tweet about it. A further 2% say they will use other social networking sites to inform people about where they will be over the festive season.

The findings show that 9% of Britons will be away on Christmas Day and 7% on Boxing Day. Seven per cent will vacate their homes in the week before or after Christmas and 6% will be away from home on New Year’s Eve. In London, the proportion of those leaving their homes unoccupied over Christmas is considerably higher, with a third (33%) choosing to do so.

The trend is also more pronounced among younger people, with 27% of 18–34 year olds leaving home over the festive season compared to just 10% of those aged 55 or over.

Younger people are also more likely to leave their Christmas tree lights on and post messages on social networking sites about their location over Christmas, with three –quarters (74%) of 18-34 year olds going away over the festive period intending to post details of their whereabouts.


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